Last Thursday, a Texan filed a class-action suit against Systemax Inc. in federal court, alleging the company and its subsidiaries TigerDirect and OnRebate conspire to delay or reject rebates in order to sweeten profits. Systemax says no way, we pay our rebates on time; according to its chief financial officer, “All consumers who properly complete the rebate application and submit the required paperwork have their rebates paid, period.” But that’s not what the Texan says happened to him.
Vukson promptly mailed in all the rebate materials and, after two months, had not heard from OnRebate. He sent an e-mail Jan. 24 inquiring about the rebate. In a Feb. 28 response, OnRebate said it had not received all the necessary materials to process his form. In March, the company refused to send the rebate, saying Vukson had missed the cutoff date, according to the suit, which lists several other alleged instances of consumers being denied rebates.
Rebates require you give up your money as an interest-free loan, while placing trust in a faceless company and postal system that you won’t be screwed over. They’re not worth it. We think the best thing to do is ignore sales that use rebates to drive down the total cost. Either the retailer can give you an instant discount and deal with the rebate himself, or you can pass on the offer. We’re shoppers, not business micro-lenders.